Contentious Visa Program Under the Spotlight

130510_darrell_issa_mscott_328With contending pieces of legislation now up for consideration in Congress, California has returned to the national spotlight on one of the most contentious immigration issues — special visas granted by the federal government to attract foreign talent.

Long critiqued by economic nationalists, including some Democrats, the H-1B visa program has been accused of undercutting qualified candidates in key industries who are U.S. citizens. “The H-1B program offers 65,000 visas each fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 reserved for foreign workers who have advanced degrees from U.S. colleges and universities,” according to Ars Technica. “The visas are awarded by lottery each year. Last year, the government received more than 236,000 applications for those visas.”

With the prestige, economic importance and compensation level attached to those jobs, they have become a focus of reform for allies of President-elect Donald Trump. “Rep. Darrell Issa, one of the highest-profile Republicans in Congress and a supporter of Mr. Trump, said Wednesday in a statement on his website that he is reintroducing a bill designed to ‘stop the outsourcing of American jobs’ and ensure laws are not ‘abused to allow companies to outsource and hire cheap foreign labor from abroad,’” The Wall Street Journal reported. The bill would seek to achieve that outcome by hiking “required salaries for positions granted under the H-1B scheme that replace American workers from $60,000 to $100,000 per year,” according to the Journal.

Bipartisan frustration

In a sign of the cross-cutting partisan interests shaking up some established battle lines on immigration, Issa boasted a Democrat, fellow Californian Rep. Scott Peters, as the co-sponsor of the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act. Silicon Valley, where political allegiances at the end of the Obama era have begun to shift in new ways, has come under attack for its use of H-1Bs. “In 2013, the top nine companies acquiring H-1B visas were technology outsourcing firms, according to an analysis by a critic of the H-1B program,” Ars Technica recalled, noting that Microsoft rounded out the list’s top 10. “The thinking goes that if minimum H-1B salaries are brought closer to what high-skilled tech employment really pays, the economic incentive to use it as a worker-replacement program will drop off.”

But other big California corporations have not been left out of the criticism. “It’s specifically required that there be a shortage” in qualified candidates, Issa said of Southern California Edison, which he attacked for asking “employees being laid off to train their replacements,” as U-T San Diego noted.

“Edison said at the time of the layoffs that it was ‘not hiring H-1B workers to replace displaced employees. Any H-1B visa workers SCE does hire for its own workforce are paid a wage comparable to SCE’s domestic workforce. Disney and a handful of other California companies have been criticized in recent years for similar moves.”

Dueling drafts

Issa and Scott’s path forward has been complicated, however, by legislative competition from one of his fellow California delegates to Congress. “Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Santa Clara County Democrat, warned Thursday that she believes Issa’s bill could undermine Silicon Valley’s job market,” the San Jose Mercury News reported. “That’s because tech companies in a location such as Silicon Valley, where software engineers can command a starting wage of $140,000 a year, might still have incentives to use foreign workers for $100,000, Lofgren said.”

Casting her alternative as a return to the original intent of U.S. visa laws to attract the so-called best and brightest, Lofgen recently announced the details of a draft bill that will circulate formally in several weeks’ time. “Under her plan, employers who pay as much as 2.5 times to three times the prevailing wage in their metro area would get first preference to hire people through the H-1B visa program,” according to the Mercury News. Lofgren has suggested that Issa’s intended fix could leave some problems intact. “Raising the wage from $60,000 to $100,000 would do nothing to prevent the sort of outsourcing abuse we’ve seen under the H-1B visa program,” she warned, according to the paper.

This piece was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

CA’s Democratic Members of Congress Plead for Obama to Pardon “Dreamers”

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

Led by members of the California delegation, dozens of House Democrats are again pleading with President Obama to pardon hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children to whom he granted temporary deportation deferrals.

Last month, several members of Congress asked Obama to use his pardon authority to forgive the past and future civil immigration offenses of the nearly 750,000 people granted deportation deferrals under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

The lawmakers say that even though the so-called Dreamers would be left in legal limbo without work permits or visas, they could more easily apply for legal status from within the U.S. without immigration offenses on their records.

A White House official immediately batted down the idea, saying a pardon wouldn’t give them legal status. …

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Border Patrol union welcomes Trump’s wall as ‘vital tool’

As reported by the San Diego Union Tribune:

The National Border Patrol Council has high hopes for President-elect Trump’s border security policies.

The union’s president, Brandon Judd, has been advising the Trump transition team. The union has encouraged the building of a border wall and changing enforcement policies put in place in the past four years.

San Diego-based Shawn Moran, vice president of the union, said a wall on the border would be a “vital tool,” and it’s difficult to say exactly where along the border a wall is needed.

“The problem arises when you secure one area, you push traffic to another,” Moran said, citing a Border Patrol program called Operation Gatekeeper that blocked entry to much of the San Diego area. …

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How Trump’s Win Might Spark CA Republican Revival

Donald Trump SNLMy title is, “How Trump’s Win Might Spark CA Republican Revival.” The key word is “might.” This statement is counterintuitive, given the hostility to him among many GOP ranks here. But bear with me.

There are two conditions: Taking immigration off the table and a Reaganesque economic boom.

First, immigration. But isn’t he nasty toward Mexicans and other immigrants? Hasn’t he offended Latinos so much they’ll never become Republicans?

The problem might – again, might – be that neither party has come up with a sensible policy on immigration, the failed attempts going back 30 years. A lot of people point out how President Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which amnestied 3 million illegal aliens. Except the “Control” part of the Act never was implemented. So the amnesty part brought in millions more, increasing the number today to something like 11 million illegals.

A lot of these illegals – yes, I’m going to keep using the word – have become part of our community. An accountant friend of mine was talking with some of the Latinas at the construction company where he works. The ladies all voted for Hillary because they didn’t want their friends and neighbors deported. That’s understandable.

But what if Trump: 1) Builds the wall – for real. Which I think he will do. 2) Sharply restricts new immigration. 3) Makes a Trumpian “deal” on those here for a long time. Recent arrivals would have to leave. Those overstaying visas would have to leave. That would take care of half or so of the 11 million. But the other half would have some long-term path to citizenship, provided they pay back taxes and fill out all the paperwork.

If such a “deal” becomes real, the key will be effectively restricting new immigration. But if the “deal” happens, and really works, it will take the whole immigration issue off the table. Memories of Proposition 187, the illegals screening initiative thrown out by courts, will begin to fade, along with hatred of the California Republicans who pushed it. After all, a Republican president will have “solved” the immigration problem.

Second, Trump will have to boom the economy. He and the Republican Congress then would get credit for the prosperity lifting all boats, and all barcos. That will filter out here to California Latinos.

A 2012 Pew Research Center study found that Latinos still are moving up the upward mobility ladder that long has brought immigrants into the middle class: “Despite difficult economic times, in the long trajectory of their lives Latinos see improved standards of living when compared with their parents and expect their children’s standard of living to be even better. Two-thirds (67 percent) of Latinos (compared with 61 percent of the general public) say their standard of living is better than that of their parents when their parents were the age they are now.” It’s the old story of American prosperity.

Better yet, the Trump immigration cutoff would accelerate the assimilation. New immigrants suppress wages because the increased supply of anything brings about greater price competition. If new immigration is sharply reduced, then those already here would move faster up the upward mobility ladder.

As correctly was said of open immigration by legendary United Farm Workers co-founder Cesar Chavez, who has a state holiday in his honor, “As long as we have a poor country bordering California, it’s going to be very difficult to win strikes as strikes are won normally by other unions with the employer … . Now, there’s no way to defend against that kind of strikebreaking.” Except a wall.

That’s why the biggest defenders today of open borders are not immigrant groups, but big farms and other businesses that want to boost profits with cheap labor.

By contrast, when people gain upward mobility, they are less likely to seek the government benefits promoted by the Democratic Party and more likely to yearn for the tax cuts and business promotion championed by the Republican Party. That’s even more true now that the new president and party leader will be a famous billionaire.

So, if California Republicans want to get back in the game, they should stick to their pro-business, small-government principles.

Of course, I could be all washed up. Maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about. Maybe there will be no economic recovery no matter what Trump does. Maybe ethnic resentments are too high. Maybe.

But Trump might (might!) have put an oxygen mask on the wheezing body of the California Grand Old and Decrepit Party. They just need to breathe deeply.

Thirty-year California columnist John Seiler now writes freelance. His email:writejohnseiler@gmail.com

This piece was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Bill Would Allow Illegal Immigrants Access to Obamacare in CA

covered caState Democrats forged ahead with legislation designed to fill out Covered California’s enrollment ranks with unlawful and undocumented immigrants.

Following the state Senate, the Assembly has “passed a measure that would remove a critical barrier to Covered California and allow all Californians to access the state health insurance marketplace, regardless of immigration status,” as State of Reform noted. The legislation, introduced as Senate Bill 10 by state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, “would authorize the state to apply for a federal waiver that would allow undocumented immigrants to buy unsubsidized health coverage through Covered California.”

“Currently, undocumented immigrants are barred from using the state marketplace under the Affordable Care Act even when using their own money and instead must go directly to a broker or health plan to purchase health insurance. During its April board meeting, a Covered California staff report gave the green light to pursue this waiver from the federal government, and is now awaiting direction from the Legislature and governor.”

Republican rollover

Despite massive Republican resistance to the implementation of Obamacare, with a “repeal and replace” approach adopted by elected officials at the state and federal level, California’s GOP quietly folded in the face of the expansion plan. SB10 sailed through both houses of the Legislature with bipartisan support, as the San Jose Mercury News recalled.

Prior to the vote, key Republicans tried to keep a low profile. Leaders “in both legislative chambers declined to comment on whether the bill has enough support to pass,” according to CALmatters. “But a Republican strategist said the California GOP might be more likely to support the measure than its national counterpart, to avoid ceding the state’s Latino vote to the Democrats.”

The ins and outs of the complex Affordable Care Act have lent some circumstantial evidence to the notion that, despite President Obama’s claims to the contrary, at least some enrollment by the undocumented was envisioned or prepared for. An ACA provision “called the ‘innovation waiver’ allows states like California to change portions of the law as long as the state makes coverage available to more people and as long as the federal government doesn’t get stuck footing the bill,” reported Fox News. And though the impact of that population on Covered California has not been fully estimated, it would be significant: Lara suggested nearly 400,000 unlawful immigrants “would be eligible to receive health insurance,” according to the channel.

Federal hurdles

But the political landscape has become uncertain enough at the federal level to create an extra layer of difficulty — and urgency — for Lara and his allies. “The proposal needs federal approval, an involved bureaucratic process that could be thwarted under a new presidency. So California advocates are acting swiftly to get their application to President Obama before he leaves office, and to do so must win support from at least a few California Republican lawmakers,” Capital Public Radio noted. “Lara put an urgency clause on the bill, which requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass the Legislature. At least one Republican state senator has indicated his support” — Andy Vidak, R-Hanford — “a cherry grower in the Central Valley’s Kings County, which has a 53 percent Latino population.”

Even with adequate Republican support for urgency, however, SB10 could be stymied inside the Beltway. Public comment review requirements left some analysts skeptical that the new rules could be approved before a change in administrations, CALmatters reported. “And even if the proposal works its way through that maze and is reviewed by the Obama administration, he said, it may not be approved because of current federal guidelines. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has strict rules for modifying the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. They might have been put in place to avoid creating a precedent that opens the door to future changes the current administration would deem” problematic.

This piece was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Many Dream Act Scholarships for Undocumented Students Go Unused

Dream Act 2Undocumented college students are leaving a wealth of unspent aid money on the table five years after the passage of the landmark California law that provides those immigrants grants for higher education.

The California Dream Act made them eligible for several kinds of grants to attend community colleges, California State Universities, the University of California and some private campuses. But the euphoria among advocates that accompanied the law’s passage has been dampened by the reality that the state-funded Cal Grant portion of the aid is reaching far fewer undocumented students than originally envisioned, particularly at community colleges.

A variety of bureaucratic hurdles, along with students’ personal money problems, confusion about rules and fears of government, are causing students to not tap their Dream Act Cal Grants, according to officials and students.

About a third of the overall awards went unused last year, even after careful vetting of applicants for low income, high school grades and other eligibility factors. Making matters worse, nearly half of the Cal Grants awarded for community college costs were left on the table, as millions of state dollars earmarked for immigrant students went unspent. UC and CSU had better records.

Lupita Cortez Alcalá, executive director of the California Student Aid Commission, said she was “not comfortable” with the participation rates in the Dreamer grants at community colleges in particular. “Of course we are concerned about those numbers,” she said, “and we want more students who are awarded those grants to use them for their higher education.”

She said efforts are underway to reach out to more to students and community colleges to learn why young people — many of whom were brought to the U.S. as small children — are bypassing the aid. The agency, which administers Cal Grants, wants to solve any communication and payment problems, she said.

One contributing factor is that these undocumented students are not eligible for federal grants and loans; so the California aid — even bolstered by waivers of community college fees and other grants for UC and Cal State students — may not be enough to cover total expenses including food, housing and books. As a result, some students abandon college and instead take full-time jobs, forgoing the Cal grants, which range for full-time students from $1,656 a year at community colleges to $12,240 at UC.

A recent survey by the California Student Aid Commission found that some students who did not take the aid blamed high costs of living in the state. In other cases, the reason was less about hardship than communication: many students in the survey reported they had not known of the Cal Grant offers despite what commission officials say were numerous attempts to contact them. A significant number enrolled at community colleges anyway, getting fee waivers but not the Cal Grants, which require more information to qualify, such as high school grades. The colleges contend that shows that they are helping these students as much as possible and that the commission’s statewide rules for verifying and distributing the Cal Grants are partly at fault for the low number of takers.

Some students say some community colleges are themselves confused about how to administer the program, and put up needless barriers. Problems arise as schools seek to verify data in some applications as required by the aid commission.

David Rojas Torres, who is in his second year at Santa Monica College, said he was unable to get his Cal Grant funds because the college wanted, among other things, copies of his parents’ tax returns. His parents are undocumented themselves and filed late. They then became nervous that handing over the paperwork might trigger an immigration status review or even deportation, even though the Student Aid Commission insists that no information is shared with immigration authorities.

“I was a little bit frightened. What if I was doing something wrong? What would happen to me and my parents?” recalled Rojas Torres, who was brought to the U.S. from Mexico at age 2 and has temporary protection from deportation under the Obama administration’s federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. So while he wound up getting the separate fee waiver, he stopped pursuing the $1,656 Cal Grant and took a cashier job to pay for books and other expenses.

The work, he said, “is cutting down on my study time.” He said he thinks that some other students were so exasperated by bureaucracy that they decided to drop out.

But Rojas Torres, who studies business administration, received help recently from a college counselor and expects to receive the Cal Grant next year at Santa Monica and later transfer to Cal State Long Beach.

Federal privacy rules bar colleges from publicly discussing individuals’ aid cases, according to Teresita Rodriguez, Santa Monica’s vice president of enrollment development, and officials at other colleges statewide. But Rodriguez said her school works hard with counseling and workshops to encourage Dreamers to obtain all the grants.

“We put a lot of emphasis and resources in trying to get the money in the hands of these students,” she said.

About 30,700 students met the application deadline for Dream Act funds for the 2015-16 school year, yet many were eliminated for not having the requisite high school grade point average — a 2.0 for community college and a 3.0 for others — or for having family income above the $47,600 cutoff for community colleges. After vetting, 8,274 Dream Act Cal Grants were offered statewide and their usage rate varied widely among the education systems, Aid Commission statistics show. By April, only 47 percent of the 4,003 community college awards were paid to students. That contrasts sharply with 84 percent of the 1,170 at UC and 68 percent of the 2,847 offered at Cal States, according to aid commission statistics.

Student Aid Commission officials said the percentages for Cal Grant usage during the current school year will grow as some late spring quarter enrollments are added. They expect the final tally to be about the same as last year’s levels: 67 percent overall, 54 percent at community colleges, 91 percent at UC and 75 percent at Cal State campuses.

 

Since the undocumented are banned from submitting the regular federal financial aid form, the Dream application can be used to access other California aid as well. Low-income community college students often receive a separate waiver from paying all tuition costs; many are eligible as well for up to $1,656 in a Cal Grant for such costs as books, transportation and housing (the amount is pro-rated for less than full-time studies). At UC and Cal State schools, the Cal Grants cover all of tuition; additional aid from the schools often pays for dorms and other costs.

The author of the California Dream Act, former state Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, said government and nonprofit organizations should work harder to convince undocumented families that no information they provide will be shared with immigration services. In addition, Cedillo, who is now a Los Angeles city councilman, said in an email that he has heard from many eligible students about “challenges they had with their school’s financial aid office.” He said schools in more politically conservative areas “refused to inform” students about how to get the aid, a contention that the statewide chancellor’s office said seems unlikely to be occurring in deliberate ways since that information is widely available online.

A large number of U.S. citizens also wind up not using their regular Cal Grants, but those students can receive substantial federal grants and loans – while undocumented students are ineligible for both. And, in contrast to the Dreamers, some U.S. citizens had no intention of seeking Cal Grants but were automatically offered them, along with federal aid, simply by filling out the federal aid application; those citizens also are more likely to attend out-of-state schools and forfeit their Cal Grants.

Tim Bonnel, a financial aid specialist at the California Community Colleges system headquarters, said he was “not aware” of colleges purposefully blocking grants or incorrectly applying rules. “Most colleges understand the law is the law,” he said. Yet he added that some community college financial aid offices are short-staffed compared with Cal State or UC and that might “unfortunately lead to students falling between the cracks.”

“We need to help them get what they qualify for,” he said.

Amiel Lopez was brought to the United States from Mexico at age 5 and now is a student at San Diego City College. When she started college last year, she was not able to receive her Cal Grant because of issues related to her parents’ marital and income tax filing status, she said. (Many undocumented residents pay taxes by using an alternative to a Social Security number.) Lopez said she incorrectly had reported her parents as married when, to her surprise, it turned out that they are not. Her parents, who are undocumented, then were reluctant to provide the paperwork that would have cleared up the confusion. Lopez, who has DACA protection, got a bank loan to help cover some costs.

This year, after straightening things out, she was delighted to receive her full awards. For most U.S. citizens seeking financial aid, “it’s easier and there are a lot more opportunities for them,” she said. In contrast, undocumented students “have to make that extra step and put in a lot more effort.”

“We have to prove that these things cannot put us down.”

Other undocumented students say they are pleased to have received the grants without any hassles or delays. For example, at UC Berkeley, third-year student Paola Mora said she knows older students who had to take off alternate years from school to work so they could afford tuition before the California Dream Act was enacted. “I’m really grateful I don’t have to go through that and I can just focus on school for the four or five years I’m here. I work on the side but I don’t necessarily depend on that work to sustain me here at school,” said Mora, who came from Mexico as a small child and now receives the grants plus wages from a work-study job on campus. The aid “has changed my experience compared to people in the past.”

Originally published by EdSource.org

CA nears letting undocumented immigrants buy health care

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Immigrants living in the country illegally would be allowed to buy health coverage on California’s insurance exchange under a bill that passed the state Assembly on Tuesday.

Already at the forefront of enacting immigrant-friendly policies, California could become the first state permitting immigrants to use the insurance exchanges created by the new federal healthcare law. Senate Bill 10 would have California petition the federal government for the right to do so. Undocumented immigrants using the exchange would not be eligible for the public subsidies that extend to other lower-income shoppers.

The measure passed 54-19, with two Republicans locked in tough re-election campaigns joining every Democrat in voting in favor. The measure now heads to the Senate for a final vote, before advancing to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Earlier in May, California began extending full benefits to undocumented children enrolled in Medi-Cal, the state’s low-income insurance program. …

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Effort to thwart terrorism must start at the U.S. border

border fence mexico immigrationNearly 15 years after the 9/11 attacks, we are still debating what to do to fight terrorism.

Following the attacks in Brussels, President Obama called for bringing the killers to justice, Donald Trump called for waterboarding captured terrorists, and Hillary Clinton called for increased surveillance and interception of communications.

Ted Cruz wants proactive policing in Muslim communities to uncover radicalism, Bernie Sanders wants the international community to come together, and John Kasich wants heads of state to assemble teams to examine vulnerabilities and close security gaps.

Cruz would try “carpet bombing” ISIS territory and Trump would use overwhelming military power against the Islamic State.

Trump also would control the borders more tightly, an idea derided by Clinton, who said America doesn’t “hide behind walls.”

We’ll see.

There are problems with every approach. Overwhelming military force leaves unanswered the question, “And then what?” Will we permanently station U.S. troops to hold the territory and protect the innocent population from the seething rage of rival factions? It’s an option some have supported in the past. Others have waited in line for six hours to rally for candidates who are against it.

The plan to bring terrorists to justice suffers from two major problems. Arresting a terrorist seems only to create a job opening in the organization. And U.S. courts are not friendly to secret intelligence sources or coerced confessions. It’s easy to sneer at “reading terrorists their Miranda rights,” but our justice system protects the rights of the accused, and if we weaken those protections, we all will be at greater risk of wrongful convictions.

Military tribunals are an option for captured foreign terrorists, but Obama wants to close the prison at Guantanamo, which may complicate the process.

Increased surveillance of communications and “pro-active policing” risk further violating the rights of innocent Americans. The Fourth Amendment guarantees the right to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures and requires the government to get a search warrant. The Fourth Amendment survived the Civil War, the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Cold War. Are we going to lose it in a war against terrorists?

It’s a great idea to have international cooperation and to close security gaps. We’ve been trying to do that for a lot longer than 15 years.

That leaves border control. There is room for improvement on that.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, recently held a hearing on the use of asylum claims to avoid deportation. It has long been U.S. policy to allow immigrants, particularly women and children from Central America, to stay in the United States if they assert that they have a credible fear of persecution at home.

In the past, many asylum seekers who entered the U.S. illegally were held in custody until their cases were heard in court, but in 2009 Obama changed that policy. Now anyone who says the magic words “credible fear of persecution” is released and given permission to work in the U.S.

Last year, hundreds of immigrants from Egypt, Somalia, Pakistan, Iran and Syria who were caught entering the U.S. were able to stay in the country by saying those magic words.

“Dangerous criminals and potential terrorists are gaming the system without consequence,” DeSantis said. “These numbers illustrate vulnerabilities throughout our immigration system.”

We could probably tighten that up pretty quickly. But first we need a president who thinks it’s a problem.

Guess who pays if Obama’s plan to defer deportations is upheld

Immigration ObamaBy the end of June, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether President Obama really has the power to defer the deportation of 4 million people who are in the United States illegally.

The justices have agreed to hear the case of United States v. Texas, in which 26 states are suing the federal government to stop the president’s deferral policy from going forward.

The first issue to be decided is whether the states have “standing” to sue. They’ll have to show that they are harmed by the president’s actions.

Former California Gov. Pete Wilson says there’s no doubt about it.

“The states continue to feel the heavy impacts and the very high costs of federal failure to deal rationally and adequately with immigration policy,” Wilson told a meeting of the Federalist Society recently at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley.

In 1994, Wilson said, California spent “more than $3 billion, or 7 percent of the entire state operating budget” to provide health care and education to illegal immigrants and to incarcerate alien felons.

Wilson unsuccessfully sued the federal government to recover the costs that state taxpayers were bearing. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected all his arguments, even the claim that the federal government ought to pay the costs of incarcerating criminals who should have been stopped at the border.

The court said, “California can simply exercise discretion not to prosecute and imprison alien felons and thus not incur the expense,” Wilson recalled sardonically.

No discretion is allowed in education. In 1982, the Supreme Court ruled in Plyler v. Doe that states must provide free public education to all children, regardless of immigration status.

Wilson said one reason he backed Proposition 187 — the 1994 ballot measure that prohibited state funding of public benefits for undocumented California residents — was that he wanted to challenge the Plyler ruling.

“I was convinced that if we could get 187 before a notably less liberal Supreme Court a decade later, there was a good chance that the court would overturn Plyler,” Wilson said, describing it as a “weak” 5-4 decision. But because of a long delay in the lower court, time ran out for Wilson, and his successor, Gov. Gray Davis, dropped the appeal.

“The people of California were cheated of their day in the Supreme Court,” Wilson said.

Today, the cost of illegal immigration is embedded in state and local budgets.

In 2014, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $61 million program called My Health L.A. to provide free medical care to undocumented immigrants ineligible for Obamacare.

California’s new system of distributing education money, the Local Control Funding Formula, gives more money to districts with high concentrations of students classified as “English learners.” The LCFF replaced a system that provided “categorical funding” for specific programs, including the arts and music block grant, gifted and talented education, and the school safety block grant.

Californians will pay $132 million a year for a new state law that provides free health coverage to undocumented residents under the age of 19.

And if Obama prevails in the Supreme Court, California may feel it in the Medi-Cal program, which already serves 13.5 million people. The state has considered deferred immigration status to be a category eligible for full Medi-Cal coverage.

However, the outcome of this case is completely unpredictable. What happens if the court upholds the president’s use of executive orders to change immigration policy, and Donald Trump is elected president?

Maybe the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the law of unintended consequences.

Boom in Driver’s Licenses Issued to Illegal Immigrants

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

Judith Benitez had gone most of her adult life without knowing how to drive.

The 35-year-old woman from Mexico who is in the U.S. illegally would ask family members for rides to pick up her children from school. Trips to the grocery store or the doctor’s office were complicated.

That changed last year when Assembly Bill 60 was implemented, granting people in the country illegally the right to obtain driver’s licenses in California. Benitez, who lives in Lemon Grove, learned to drive and was among those in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles the day the law took effect.

“Truthfully, it was an extremely emotional time because having a [driver’s] license isn’t just any little thing,” she said. “We feel a little more protected.”

An estimated 605,000 licenses were issued under the law last year, accounting for nearly half of all new licenses, according to the California DMV. Nearly 400,000 of the licenses were issued during the first six months. …

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